eTopps: A line of trading cards that were produced by Topps that are sold directly to the collector via the internet. First introduced in December 2000, eTopps cards were sold exclusively online through individual "IPOs" (or, "Initial Player Offering") in which the card was offered for a short period of time (usually a week) at a set IPO price (usually $5-$7 per card). The quantity sold depended on how many people offered to buy, but was limited to a certain maximum -- usually a couple thousand.
After a sale, the cards were held in a climate-controlled warehouse until the buyer requests delivery. eTopps cards were designed to be traded online without changing hands except in the virtual sense.
Topps had high hopes for the eTopps concept, signing a partnership deal with eBay and spending $5.7 million to acquire thePit.com, an on-line sports card "stock market." However most collectors never fully accepted the "virtual trading card" concept and sales figures for the first few years were less than expected.
Despite this, the cards have maintained a small, cult following, and the profit margins were high enough for Topps to have maintained the eTopps program for over a decade.
In Jaunary, 2012, Topps announced that they would no longer be producing any new eTopps cards; however, collectors will still be able to sell and trade the cards on eBay and the eTopps website, and still have their cards delivered to them for a nominal fee.